Smets Again in 500MX

Cycle News Staff | July 10, 2000

KTM’s Joel Smets scored yet another double win, this time at the Circuit Culham in Great Britain, a result which allowed the Belgian to further tighten his grip on the 500cc MX championship.

The wins were decisive and impressive. Smets beat Yamaha’s Marnicq Bervoets by 34.750 seconds in the first moto and by 31.070 in the second moto on a track made slick by heavy overnight rains. The races were run under cloudy skies and the track changed constantly throughout the day as it dried, but it didn’t matter to Smets, who wasn’t challenged at all.

“I felt I was faster than Joel (Smets) so I tried to overtake him,” Bervoets said of his fellow Belgian after trailing him home in the first moto. “I drifted wide, however, and hit a post and made a big crash. My bike was pretty damaged, and I hurt my left thigh, which caused me initially quite some pain. Luckily it loosened up soon. I am glad I could defend my second spot.”

Bervoets led the second moto until the track began to dry, which was when Smets got on the gas and made the pass.

“I was strong in the opening laps, I passed Peter (Johansson) and opened an eight seconds gap,” Bervoets said. “At some stage I began to fade and Joel gained on me . I must say he was faster than me and because the track was drying more race lines appeared. I could not defend my lead. While second, I watched his lines for a few laps and intended to get him back. Then an insect flew inside my goggles and I had to release it before it would sting me. That was it really, Joel was too far gone.”

After 11 of 16 rounds, Smets leads Bervoets 369 to 283. KTM’s Peter Johansson is third with 254. The Swede carded 5-3 finishes on the day.

Moto One:

1. Joel Smets (KTM)

2. Marnicq Bervoets (Yamaha)

3. Gordon Crockard (Honda)

4. Andrea Bartolini (Yamaha)

5. Peter Johansson (KTM)

6. Darryl King (Husqvarna)

7. Gert-Jan van Doorn (VOR)

8. Willy van Wessel (Husqvarna)

9. Marcel van Drunen (Husqvarna)

10. James March (KTM)

Moto Two:

1. Joel Smets (KTM)

2. Marnicq Bervoets (Yamaha)

3. Peter Johansson (KTM)

4. Andrea Bartolini (Yamaha)

5. Darryl King (Husqvarna)

6. Joakim Karlsson (Honda)

7. Gert-Jan van Doorn (VOR)

8. Max Bartolini (Yamaha)

9. Chris Burnham (VOR)

10. Jonas Engdahl (KTM)

500cc MX World Championship:

1. Joel Smets (369)

2. Marnicq Bervoets (283)

3. Peter Johansson (254)

4. Andrea Bartolini (253)

5. Darryl King (189)

6. Gert-Jan van Doorn (105)

7. Max Bartolini (101)

8. Willy van Wessel (93)

9. Miska Aaltonen (90)

10. Joakim Karlsson (84)